TEXT: Topical, textual references ( Lk. 2:18-20)
INTRO: We come to our third Sunday of celebrating Advent, or the coming of the Christ, what we call Christmas. Our purpose is to worship through the understanding and consideration of the perfect plan and process God used to send His Son, our Savior, into the world. Today we turn to another group of characters who participated in the Nativity event, teaching us further about the ways of God and His purposes for all of us. The third candle is called the Candle of Proclamation, the Shepherd’s Candle, and the Candle of Joy.
I. SHEPHERDS: RECIPIENTS OF THE GOOD NEWS. READ 2:8-9.
A. Who were the shepherds, that they should be the first to receive the good news? They were anonymous for the most part.
B. The relevance this has for us is that God’s good news has always been meant for regular people, not because of our achievements or our failures, but because of God’s great love for the world.
II. THE GOOD NEWS RECEIVED. READ 2:10-12.
A.That was the first proclamation of the arrival of the Messiah. Three points: 1.) The shepherds didn’t have to be afraid of God. He wanted to share the joy of heaven with all people on earth.
2.) A Savior, the long – awaited Promised One had finally come.
3.) The angel then directed them on where to find the Savior and how to recognize Him.
B. Christmas ought to remind us that the good news the shepherds received was what we are to receive : God cares. He cares so much He has sent His Son to save His people from their sins. There are ways to find Him
Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart.” Prov. 8:17, 18, “those who search for Me will find Me. For the one who finds Me finds life.” In Acts 9, Saul was seeking God, but in the wrong way, so God reached out to him. Acts 17:26-27, “He did this so they might seek God, and perhaps they might reach out and find Him.”
III. THE RIGHT RESPONSE TO THE GOOD NEWS. READ 2:15-20.
- When the message was received the response of the shepherds is perfect: they purposed to go and seek out the truth of what was told them.
- D.T. Niles, a theologian from Sri Lanka, once famously said, “Evangelism is witness. It is one beggar telling another beggar where to find food.” How can we not share?
Opening question: “I see you celebrate Christmas. How much do you know about Christ?”
Like the shepherds we are regular people who received a Divine message, followed it up, and upon finding it true, set out to share the great joy with others. Joy was the emotion that fell upon the shepherds, and it should be a major emotion we have as God’s children and that we share, at Christmas and throughout the year!